Segments in this Video

Revolution—The Ascent of Woman: Introduction (02:58)


The Pantheon Paris mausoleum honors 71 men and two women. This segment orients viewers to the topic of women who fought for change, redefined the nature of revolution, and helped shape the western world with excerpts from the program.

March on Versailles (02:10)

In 1789, the women of Paris stormed the palace in Versailles and forced the royal family to Paris. Louis XVI signed the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Olympe de Gouges (02:42)

The Declaration of the Rights of Man did not extend to women; De Gouges claimed on paper that the declaration was incomplete without the rights of women. Campaigners protests that her ashes do not rest in the Pantheon Paris.

Women's Rights (03:09)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed women should be weak and passive. In 1791, Olympe de Gouges published "Declaration of the Rights of Women." Olivier Blanc discusses the major points of the document and its effect.

Oppression of Women (02:32)

In 1792, the Jacobins banned women from meeting in groups of five or more and outlawed expressions of dissent. Olympe de Gouges distributed "Les Trois Urnes" and was arrested; she was executed in 1793. Dr. Amanda Foreman reflects on why de Gouges was accused of being a traitor.

Political Backlash against Women (02:32)

In 1795, women were banned from the National Assembly. In 1804, Napoleon instituted the Napoleonic Code, further oppressing women. French women obtained the right to vote in 1946 and the right to work without their husband's permission in 1966.

Millicent Fawcett (05:18)

In the early 19th century women in South America, Greece, Poland, and Germany fought alongside men in the demand for independence. Elizabeth Crawford discusses education for girls and boys in the 19th century. Fawcett believed women needed a university education equal to men's and co-founded Newnham College in 1871.

Alexandra Kollontai (03:06)

Women received the right to vote in New Zealand in 1893, Norway in 1913, and Denmark in 1915. Kollontai was the first woman to breach the Bolshevik government inner circle. She organized strikes and protests for women factory workers and was exiled in 1908.

International Women's Day (02:23)

On February 23, 1917, women marched through the streets and organized protests; the czar fell from power a week later. Kollontai returned to Russia and became head of the Zhenotdel. Barbara Evans Clements discusses Kollontai's work to improve women's rights.

Working Russian Women (04:03)

The Bolshevik Party introduced radical reforms 50 years ahead of the rest of Europe. Kollontai wanted to "free women from the burdens of family;" emancipation should also extend to sexuality. Propaganda depicting women working outside the home promoted equality.

Kollontai's Demise (01:31)

Clements discusses the Bolshevik perspective on Kollontai's views of family. In 1922, Lenin removed Kollontai as the head of the Zhenotdel; she spent the next 20 years as ambassador to Sweden. Stalin repealed many women's rights.

Feminist Activism (02:36)

Despite some reforms, modern Russian women still face inequality. Punk band Pussy Riot is at the forefront of a campaign for social equality.

Margaret Sanger (04:14)

Sanger was determined to help women gain access to sex education and contraception; she had to fight against the Comstock Law. Sanger coined the term "birth control" in 1914 and distributed diaphragms through the mail. She opened a women's clinic in Brownsville in 1916 and was arrested; she spent 30 days in jail.

Women's Liberation (02:30)

Sanger looked for support wherever she could; Katharine McCormick financed Sanger's cause. Sanger and McCormick worked with Gregory Pincuss to create a birth control pill.

Female Contraception (03:12)

On May 9, 1960, the FDA approved the first birth control pill; over 100 million women worldwide use birth control pills today. Alexander Sanger discusses the last years of his grandmother's life and backlash against women's health care. Margaret Sanger is often vilified for early views on Eugenics.

Second Wave of Feminism (01:59)

Women in the 1960s and 1970s were frustrated with gender inequality and pushed for social change. See artist Judy Chicago's installation, "The Dinner Party."

Arab Spring (03:28)

Women participate in mass protests across the Middle East. Prof. Nadje Al-Ali discusses the resistance of women's rights and explains why she does not like the term Arab Spring.

Women's Political Voice in Africa (03:07)

Women participated in grass roots efforts to gain equality. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became president of Liberia in 2006, Joyce Banda became president of Malawi in 2012, and Lindiwe Mazibuko became the first black woman to lead the Parliamentary for the opposition Democratic Alliance. Mazibuko discusses efforts to "put women in their place" and a revolution in economic empowerment.

Global Awareness of Women's Rights (04:05)

The U.N. has a fundamental role in promoting global equality; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka champions women's rights. Foreman reflects on the history of women's fight for equality and a new model for social revolution.

Credits: Revolution—The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story (00:37)

Credits: Revolution—The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story

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Revolution—The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story

Part of the Series : The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story
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In this final program, Dr. Amanda Foreman looks at the role of women in revolutions that transformed the modern world. She discovers, through women like campaigner and writer Olympe De Gouges, that the French Revolution's promise of equality, liberty and brotherhood would be limited to men. Bolshevik radical Alexandra Kollontai would find that while her fellow Russian revolutionaries may have put women's rights at the forefront of ideological change, the post-revolutionary world would be as rife with gender bias as the societies they'd helped transform. In the end, revolutionary change for women would come from within the private sphere - in America, with activists like Margaret Sanger, who coined the term birth control and developed the pill which would finally give women control over when to have children.

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: BVL114443

ISBN: 978-1-68272-696-9

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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